CoD: Vanguard in the test – strong multiplayer ironed out weaknesses in campaigns and zombies

With Call of Duty: Vanguard, the series returns to its thematic roots. For the campaign, this means a successful staging of already known images. CoD’s heart, the multiplayer, on the other hand, can shine with real advantages.

Is the year over again? Call of Duty: Vanguard not only replaces its predecessor Black Ops Cold War with a much shorter name, but also switches back to World War II. As usual, you get a bombastic single player campaign, an endless zombie mode and the core of every CoD, the multiplayer. While the first two modes are quite thin, the multiplayer is a real stunner in terms of content and playability (for the time being).

Vanguard’s Campaign: Nazis Do Nazi Things

In Vanguard you experience the birth of the special forces and slip into the roles of the whole in the course of the story four different characters, all of which have a few playful idiosyncrasies. The first mission of Leader Arthur Kingsley fails, however, which leads to the capture of him and his team. During the interrogation you will learn the background story of the British soldier Kingsley, the Soviet soldier, through missions Sniper Polina Petrova, the American Pilot Wade Jackson and the Australian Explosives expert Lucas Riggs. According to these descriptions, some of the missions of the four individual characters are always canceled.

The antagonists are the GESTAPO director Heinrich Freisingertrying to find out what the allies are saying about his secret Project Phoenix to know. During interrogation by specialist Jannick Richter, it turns out that there is a conspiracy among the Nazis.

The campaign is well staged as usual and captures the atmosphere and thus the horror of the war well in many places. Graphically, the campaign shines from the cutscenes to the weapon animations. The high level of detail contributes greatly to immersion. Coupled with the great soundscape, this CoD campaign is also a real experience.

Unfortunately, the staging is successful a very brief pleasure. Besides, the story doesn’t reveal much. Most of the time you play the single missions of the four main characters, none of which you will really get to know in the near future. from You will also learn very little about the birth of the special forces, because Vanguard owes the story of how the four came together. The same applies to the motivation of the antagonists. At the end of the war they want to save their own skin, protect Project Phoenix and do the classic Nazi things for that. They threaten, torture and try psychological games while smoking.

Small spoiler: You simply won’t find out what this secret project is in concrete terms. In the end, you come across tons of files that talk about places all over the world where Nazis want to do Nazi things, and the moment you think it’s really going to start, the credits begin. The whole campaign is far too long an exposure for a story that you will not live to see.

The bottom line is that you’ve seen it all before. The fact that you have probably rarely seen all of this so beautifully can only make up for it to a limited extent. As beautiful as the atmosphere is and as thrilling as the staging is, the story builds on something on very thin legs that doesn’t even exist in the end. Unfortunately, Vanguard misses the exciting narrative that Cold War used.

Vanguard’s zombie mode: brief in terms of content, but at least fresh

The co-op add-on for a Call of Duty is usually the zombie mode. In Vanguard, he tells the story of the Dark Aether events from Black Ops Cold War. There are, however, some differences in gameplay. The zombie mode now has something like Rogue lite elements. Of a Hub from Stalingrad you start various tasks on other maps through portals. After successfully completing it, you will return to the hub, which will unlock new areas where you can upgrade your weapons, craft equipment and equip yourself with perks.

However, there are overall only three types of portals and only three types of opponents. Do you have after about an hour I saw pretty much everything. After that you can of course repeat the increasingly difficult portals in an endless loop until your team is dead or you activate the portal to exit.

By the start of the first season on December 2nd, that will be all the zombie mode has to offer. The hub mechanics work well and the gameplay itself is fun, it just gets very monotonous very quickly.

Vanguard’s Multiplayer: A direct hit in the core discipline

After its predecessor Cold War disappointed with too little scope, Vanguard does just that better. With a total of 20 maps At the launch, developer Sledgehammer Games is delivering more than twice as many cards as Cold War. In addition comes with Champion Hill also a completely independent mode in which you can compete in a kind of gunfight tournament against other teams and which offers a significant change from classic multiplayer. But even with that there is plenty of variety thanks to the new “Combat Pacing”. You can use the maps in the variants “Tactical”, “Assault” or “Blitz” play, that is, the number of players changes. While you will find the well-known “6 versus 6” in “Assault”, in “Blitz” there can be up to 24 game ends depending on the map size.

Of course, more players mean more kills and therefore more experience points. Since any weapon is good 70 levels you need a lot of it. One waits at each level new essay from a total of ten categories on you and you are allowed to use all ten, unlike in Cold War or Modern Warfare. As always, your loadout is completed by a secondary weapon, two pieces of equipment and three perks. Vanguard returns to the more popular killstreaks compared to Cold War.

You level yourselves not only through weapons and ranks, but also the operators. They have one in Vanguard own progress system receive. Each operator must first be unlocked via a challenge and can then go up a total of 20 levels. In doing so, you unlock cosmetics and other things that do not give you an unfair advantage over other players. In addition, each operator has a favorite weapon that you can use in combination with the operator Extra experience receive. This innovation motivates all characters to unlock and use them, but in total with weapons and challenges, there is a whole lot of things for which you have to gain experience.

Which brings us to a small problem. For casual gamers in particular, it will take an extremely long time to unlock everything and meet all challenges. There are just too many. In addition, there is currently still a lot Bugs in the challenges gives. The activation of other crosshairs is not recorded at all and the game does not register your progress in other challenges either. Some can even not be fulfilled, for example because you should do kills with a special attachment that does not exist for the weapon in question.

Vanguard has a very short time-to-kill (Enemies die after very few hits) which may be too fast for some of you. By comparatively high sprint out time (Time that you need to switch from sprinting to shooting) you are currently always at a disadvantage if you move a lot over the map and the opponents tend to wait. This should definitely be readjusted. In some cases you can do it yourself, because the many attachments and ten available slots result in many different ways to play a weapon. You can of course look up the best loadouts at the YouTuber you trust, or you can try it out yourself, there is no shortage of options.

Test conclusion

Let’s first tick off campaign and zombie mode. In the campaign you can expect the usual bombastic and great staged war events. Unfortunately, a lot is neglected here and that doesn’t necessarily mean the playing time. The five to seven hours are normal for Call of Duty, however Vanguard misses the chance to make something bigger out of the exciting characters. Instead, the four main characters get their introduction and just when the story picks up speed, it’s over. There’s little new to see here, and Cold War has shown how good a deviation from the standard Call of Duty campaign can do. Hardly anyone will remember this story in a few months.

At Black Ops Cold War, the campaign was particularly convincing at the launch:

The zombies run into another problem besides your gun barrels. The new approach is much more accessible, which, however, will not appeal to die-hard fans. Regrettably, there is a lack of content everywhere. There is hardly any variety in opponents and tasks and the most important thing the puzzle with the Easter Eggs is completely missing. Yes, that will be submitted with the first season, but I can now judge poorly what can potentially be good or bad in a few weeks. At launch, the zombie mode clearly lacks rotten meat.

Fortunately it is the heart of every CoD really successful: the multiplayer. Thanks to the large number of maps, there is something for everyone, the “pacing” variants ensure variety and those who have had enough of normal multiplayer get a significantly different gaming experience thanks to Champion Hill. There are enough weapons for every style of play and thanks to the wide selection of attachments you never get bored. There are actually several loadouts and attachment combinations for a weapon that are actually playable. When it comes to multiplayer, Sledgehammer Games really hit the mark. When it comes to challenges, there are still some bugs that should be tackled quickly, as they sometimes limit the progress of the game. Overall, Call of Duty: Vanguard will be able to make the community very happy thanks to a strong multiplayer. I definitely succeeded.

Call of Duty: Vanguard is available from November 5, 2021 for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X | S, Xbox and PC and offers crossplay for the multiplayer modes.

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